Modding a La Pavoni Europiccola Espresso machine

Modding a La Pavoni Europiccola Espresso machine

I’m switching to English for this post as it will reach a larger audience that way.

The La Pavoni after the modification
The La Pavoni after the modification

If you have a La Pavoni Europiccola from the 1990s or later, it is probably equipped with a combination of a red switch and a green light (see the pictures). The green light is wired in parallel to the heating element and lights up whenever the water is being heated. When the correct pressure for brewing espresso is reached, the green light goes off. The red switch does not light up.

What bothered me was that the only visual way of distinguishing between the two states „switched on and ready“ and „switched off“ was the position of the switch. This is quite easy to overlook.

The La Pavoni Europiccola espresso machine has a few quirks which are regularly being discussed in forums, one of them being that the machine overheats readily if it is left on for an extended amount of time and runs dry, causing the thermofuse or the heating element to break.

So I decided to take the machine apart and investigate whether it would be possible to install a power light inside the red portion of the switch. Upon disassembling the switch, I found that the switch does already contain a small light, but was assembled incorrectly. Also, the switch has an extra connector for the lamp which was not wired to anything. So I set out to change that…

How to connect a power light inside the La Pavoni Europiccola espresso machine

Tools needed

  • small 2-3mm flathead screwdriver
  • TX20 Torx screwdriver or bit with a hole in the center
  • sharp knife, e.g. carpet knife
  • pliers
  • a multimeter, if you have one

Parts needed

  • one 6.3mm spade connector  for 0.5-1mm conductors (e.g. Conrad Electronic part #737279)
  • one 6.3mm insulating sleeve for said spade connector (e.g. Conrad Electronic part #735517)
  • heat resistant cable (e.g. Conrad Electronic part #100014 available in their stores). The conductor should have a cross section of not more  (but not much less) than 1 square mm. The cable I bought has been tested to 1000V and 180°C; I hope that’s hot enough.

Buy a few connectors and covers and 1m of wire, even if you only need one each.

Disclaimer

I’m not an electrical engineer and I assume no responsibility for anything that could go wrong. Use common sense, don’t attempt this mod if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Steps

  1. Unplug the machine, empty it and remove the tray, the boiler cap and the steam wand.
  2. Unscrew the base using the Torx screwdriver and remove it.
  3. Wiring before the modification
    Wiring before the modification. Click to zoom.

    Look at the wiring and see if it is similar to the picture below. Document the way your machine is wired up, e.g. by taking a few pictures.

  4. Locate the unused spade connector on the switch and the neutral conductor (actually, the conductor that’s not directly connected to the switch) on the terminal strip/insulating screw joint. We’d like to connect the two.
  5. Cut the wire to an appropriate length and strip the insulation off both ends. If you like, tin it with a soldering iron.
  6. Crimp the spade connector to one end and slip on the insulating sleeve. Connect to the unused spade terminal on the switch.
  7. The wiring after the mod
    The wiring after the mod with the black cable connected to the middle (neutral conductor) terminal

    Screw the other end of the wire into the terminal strip together with the neutral conductor. Make sure the wire doesn’t touch the base of the boiler.

  8. Reassemble the machine, plug it in and check whether the power lamp comes on.
    If it does, you’re done.

    It works!
    It works!

If the light still doesn’t work, your machine might be affected by the same problem mine had. In my machine the red rocker part was apparently incorrectly installed inside the black base. I had to remove the switch from the machine and take it apart. If you use a multimeter to test the switch keep in mind that it won’t tell you whether the lamp works (it will always have no continuity).

The lamp itself consumes less than 0.4W, the heater around 970W.

Happy Hacking!